Monday, March 19, 2012

The Ultimate Wedding Week - Engagement Photos

It's here!!!

I'm so excited to kick off The Ultimate Wedding Week! Today's topic is...


Engagement pictures are not a mandatory part of wedding planning and not everyone has them taken. But they are a great way to capture such an exciting time in your life. I love looking at our engagement pictures and others because you can really see the love couples have for one another.

For most, it's the first time taking professional pictures as a bona fide couple... a whole photo shoot just for you and your hunny! 

Plus these aren't just pictures you'll have framed around your house but they'll likely be used for save the dates, wedding programs, guest book, and/or reception decoration. In other words, you'll want to put some thought into them!

Exactly 5 years ago this month Ryan and I took our engagement photos together.

Crazy how time flies.

I knew I wanted them to be taken outdoors. The plan was to go to Big Spring Park in Huntsville, Alabama.

Pretty, right? And March was the perfect month to go when the dogwoods were in blossom. Well when our photographer, Ryan, and I pulled up there was a huge festival going on.

We didn't exactly have this.... mind for the backdrop of our engagement pictures. Ok, it wasn't that bad but still.
Lesson learned - check the schedule of events!

Time for Plan B. Our seasoned photographer had several other ideas but with little contemplation we decided to head up the mountain to Monte Sano State Park.

Since it was March it wasn't as green as I would have hoped, but we made the best of it. It's a beautiful park with trails and an incredible outlook point 1600 feet above sea level.

I love how they turned out.

We got plenty of "mom shots". You know, the head shots mom's love to frame and send to family members....

We got the save-the-date shot... 

Of course we got some smoochin' shots... 

And also captured some sweet moments...

We even caught a beautiful sunset at the end of our shoot... 

It was such a fun day! I'll never forget it. 

Ok, now for some advice...

1. Choosing a Photographer:

One of the most important things is choosing a photographer that fits your style. You'll want to find one that matches your personality and will listen to your thoughts and ideas. Luckily most photographers have websites and blogs that give you a great feel for who they are and the work they do. After you've chosen yours, engagement photo sessions are a great way to get to know them even better so you're more comfortable with them on your wedding day.

2. Choosing a Date:

Of course you can make your own rules, but you'll typically have a certain time frame to take engagement pictures (from proposal to wedding day). Obviously if you have a year long engagement you have more options in choosing a preferable month to take them. Think about what you'd like to wear. If you take your pictures inside you can wear whatever you want. However, if you prefer an outdoor landscape don't forget to think about the temperature (and rainy season). If it's January and you want to bundle up to take romantic pictures during a snow fall, great! But if it's January and you'd rather wear a sundress and wedges mark a date on the calendar for spring or summer! There are no deadlines to which you need to have the photos taken, but the sooner the better if you plan to use them for save the dates!

3. Choosing a Location:

If there is a place that has meaning to you and your fiance, possibly where you first met, where the proposal happened, your first date, or somewhere you frequent as a couple, any of those are a great places to start. Ryan and I met in Auburn, Alabama (at Freshman orientation to be exact). That summer before Freshman year we actually dated while we lived in Huntsville/Madison. Four years later when we were engaged, both of our families lived in Huntsville so we knew that's where we wanted to get married. Even though we didn't live there we wanted to have our pictures taken in the same city we'd later have our wedding.

The great part about engagement pictures is you can have them taken anywhere. And the only people you need to coordinate them with is you, your fiance, and the photog. I always thought it was neat when couples took their pictures in the cities they were living in (or going to live in), especially if different than the wedding location. It's a great way to incorporate the place in which you'll be starting your lives together as husband and wife!  

4. What to Wear:

You'll want to dress appropriately for your location. I'm not necessarily talking about wearing cowboy boots if you're taking pictures in a field with a barn (although there is certainly nothing wrong with that), but you can also change it up a bit. But definitely stick to your roots...

If you're a hippie at heart or down home country girl, don't dress in cocktail attire.
If you're marrying a country boy, don't bundle him up in a suit and tie.
If you wouldn't be caught dead in a skirt, wear jeans.
If you're the ultimate girly-girl who wears sparkly heels on a Tuesday by all means jazz up the pics!

You get the point. There are no rules, so have fun with it! People will appreciate the reflection of your personalities in your photos.

Ryan and I dressed up a bit for ours, but we were still comfortable. I would recommend wearing something classic. You don't want to look back 5-10 years from now and wonder what the heck you were thinking. I wanted to wear something simple and far from trendy. I tend to dress this way regularly, but made sure I stayed on the classic side for these photos. I'd love to display these pictures for years to come without any wardrobe regrets! Think Jackie O. :)

5. Be comfortable.

This goes in hand with #4, but it's so important it deserves its own number. You must wear something that is comfortable and that you feel good in.
If  you're in heels and want pictures at one end of the park and then another, save your feet by bringing some flip flops for the walk to and from. If you're taking your pictures on the beach or in fall or winter bring a jacket or blanket so you can keep warm in between shooting.

I can't stress enough to wear something comfortable. You don't want to be looking down every 2 minutes to make sure your undergarments aren't showing or dreading every "scene change" because your heels hurt so bad with every step.

6. Personalize the Pics.

To be honest, I never thought of doing something personal during our photo session. When I see others showing off their interests, hobbies, and quirks in their pics I think it's so cute. For example, this a photo from my sister's engagement photo session...

I love it because it's so them. My sister has wanted a pug forever and Mark loves to do crossword puzzles. Get creative!

This is a great lead in to my last bit of advice...


Let your pictures be a true reflection of you and you will cherish them forever.

All engagement photos by {Allison Janson Photography} in Huntsville, AL. 

Ok, now it's your turn!!

We want to see YOUR engagement photo posts -- link up your new, old, or inspiration posts below!


  1. I've tried to enter my link to my post, but the linky tool won't let me, even though I have a link to your post in it. Help! :)


  2. Love these photos! So sweet! Can't wait to see more photos! We didn't do engagement photos although I wish we had. We did so a casual shoot after the wedding in our wedding attire though, which was tons of fun.

  3. Rach, these are beautiful pictures! I don't think I've seen them before, beside the save the date photo. You guys are so adorable :)

  4. Love the sunset pictures!! Yall are too cute :)

  5. You have quite a collection of absolutely amazing pics, Rachel, and obviously the photographer was a very good one.

  6. Love this and decided to join in on the fun today.. thanks!

    btw my thumbnail pic isn't showing, weird!

  7. What a fun link up series! I found you from More from Meg, and I am your newest follower! You pictures are gorgeous!! :)

  8. Hi! Gorgeous GORGEOUS Pictures! I'm a new follower and excited to link up for this post! *xo*

  9. Thanks for hosting this link up! I just linked up :)

    All of your photo's are beautiful! I love the sunset ones. So pretty!

  10. I am in love with all of these pictures!!! The advice is great- will definitely come in handy one day :)

  11. Your photos are stunning! I'm loving this link party- I just followed you!

  12. Your engagement photos are fabulous, girlie! You absolutely cannot beat the views from Monte Sano, and that sunset is truly amazing!

    P.S. How is it that I've just now found your blog? I totally love it, and I am your newest follower! I, too, grew up in Huntsville and now live in Nashville! :) Small world.

  13. Your pictures are just beautiful!! Thanks for sharing!

  14. Gorgeous photos Rachel! You will treasure these forever! xo

  15. you and your honey look absolutely stunning in there :) love the one you chose for your save the date!

  16. your engagement photos were amazing!! I love how classic you both look- the sunset one is my favorite! Thanks for sharing this link up- I posted our engagement photos too :-)

  17. So glad I found your blog through Valerie at Along the Way With V & J! I automatically liked your blog because you spell Gray the way I do ;-) I'm linking up my engagement pics right now!

  18. Love your blog! Your engagement pictures are so cute!!
    I just looked at all of your renovation pictures and am amazed..! How awesome of a job y'all did! I am admiring every detail! I can't wait to see the rest! So glad I found your blog!

  19. I wish I got engagement shots done - but there was no way that I would have convinced my husband to do so. I am working on first anniversary shots to make up for it.

    You shots make me even more sad that we skipped out on this.

  20. Beautiful! And thanks for the tips!!

  21. Thanks for sharing and all the great tips. Your photos are just beautiful!

  22. I love these pictures. I just saw this on pinterest and clicked, you are great! Wonderful advice, gorgeous photos! Have a nice day!

  23. Outstanding photos!! They seem like a perfect couple and their venue for engagement photo session is so charming. We have planned to throw a grand engagement party. So we would prefer booking one of best New York venues for this special occasion.


Drop me a line!

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.